Bertha the Moose
Bertha, the mounted moose, is much beloved in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. The moose was given to the school’s Forestry Club in the 1920s by Carl Schenk. Schenck was a renowned German forester who founded the first forestry school in America on Biltmore, the Vanderbilt Estate in North Carolina, and published several foundational forestry textbooks. Schenk spent at least two quarters teaching forestry students in Missoula in the 1920s. A friend of his shot the female moose near Hamilton, Montana, and Schenk donated it to us. Her antlers were added later.
In the 1930s Bertha became the object of a rash of kidnappings by different campus groups, none more successful or long-lasting than the students of the Law School. The Law School students timed their crime to coincide with the start of preparations for the annual Foresters‟ Ball. In most cases, Bertha was returned in time for their big night but there were a few years where she was notably absent. By the late 1980s, Bertha was looking very ragged; the constant kidnappings had taken a toll and she was in need of a makeover. (139) The Forestry Club held raffle and raised money to have her remounted and fixed up.
In 2000, the Law School established the MLA or Moose Liberation Army to free Bertha. In response the Forestry Club organized FART, the Forestry Armed Response Team. The tradition of kidnapping Bertha continues today. In 2012, students in the Law School stole Bertha. As retribution, the Forestry Club filled the lobby of the Law School building with trees. (140) The tradition of kidnapping Bertha continues today.
From "100 Years of Forestry at The University of Montana-Missoula: 1913-2013" by Carlie Magill